Jack Mackenroth is a hella big spunk. He’s also an HIV campaigner and openly HIV+ himself. The former Project Runway contestant is a regular on the gay blogosphere and usually not wearing much, for which we are eternally grateful Mr Mackenroth.
In what he’s hoping will become a new version of the Ice Bucket Challenge or Cock in a Sock challenges that have done the rounds this year he’s promoting the Naked Shower Selfie challenge. Those challenges were aimed at raising money for charities. Unlike those challenges Jack’s challenge isn’t trying to raise money, it’s fighting stigma and challenging the language we use on hookup and dating apps like Grindr. Jack has taken issue and very rightly so with the word “clean” on profiles instead of negative implying that people who have HIV are unclean or less than. I’ve seen it myself and it made me uncomfortable to read it. Let’s face it, the people that are likely to write the word “clean” to describe themselves or their prospective partner requirements aren’t going to be writing “I’m clean but I don’t mind your status” whereas I have seen negative but poz friendly several times now which is encouraging.
Striking a balance between promoting safer sex practices and staying HIV- with reducing stigma against HIV+ guys is always going to be tough but maybe a cheeky stream of photos of naked men in the shower will go part of the way to helping. I say bring it on.